Preventing Bicycle Crashes
Head injury is the most common serious injury from bicycle crashes. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85% (1). A statewide helmet observational survey conducted in Utah in 2007 showed that only 23% of elementary school-age bicyclists, 14% of secondary school-age bicyclists, and 58% of adult bicyclists wore bicycle helmets.
A helmet can only protect your brain if you wear it each time you ride!
Everyone—especially children—should wear bicycle helmets each time they ride. Helmets are the single most effective way to prevent head injuries in bicycle crashes.
A helmet won't protect you or your child if it is not worn correctly. The helmet should be level on the head and fastened snugly under the chin, with the strap forming a "V" below the ears. If you're not sure whether your or your child's helmet fits properly, download this guide to fitting your helmet properly or watch the Bike Helmet Fit Test video from Safe Kids Worldwide.
Bicyclist Safety Tips
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Kids are going to have fun when they ride their bikes, sometimes they are going to fall, crash, and tumble. There are things you can do to keep your child safe while riding a bicycle (2).
- "Use your head, wear a helmet." It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
- Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
- Make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
- When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors. It's also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve visibility to motorists.
- Actively supervise children until you're comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.
Watch the Share the Road Driver Education video to learn more about how to safely share the road with bicyclists.
- New England Journal of Medicine Thompson RS, et al. A case-control study of the effectiveness of bicycle helmets.
- Safe Kids Worldwide. Bike.